Using Technological Tools to Teach Mathematics

I agree with the texts that technological tools cannot be a replacement for full conceptual understanding of mathematics content. It can only be used to:

-deepen understanding

-enlarge the scope of content children can learnt

-broaden the range of problems that children are able to tackle.

Types of technological-supported learning activities in our classroom:

Laptop and projector, Interactive Whiteboard and ipad

-Our classrooms are well equipped with IT system. Teachers and children can do on-line research immediately when they encountered interesting topics.

-The interactive whiteboard allows a large group to sit and participate comfortably in a presentation. Lessons can be easily enhanced by integrating video, animation, graphics and audio.

-The ipad is a mini wireless interactive whiteboard that fit into our children’s lifestyle. It is lighter than a computer and teachers can carry it around for their lessons. There are lots of educational apps available for learning in all areas.

Although technology enable the teachers to bring the world into the classroom, they must not neglect the most important stage where children progress through concrete learning experiences.

Daily Reflection (21 July 2012)

3 things that I have learned:

-Use the 4 critical questions to support children’s learning and self-reflection

1. What is it that I want the child to learn?

2. How do I know that they have learned it?

3. What if the child can’t make it?

4. What if I have different learners (struggle and advance) in class?

-Provide specific instructions and do not assume that the child is familiar with the concept. Use appropriate language to teach mathematics concept and do not mislead/confuse the children. I like the idea of using story books to teach math. It requires the learners to listen attentively and therefore enhance their listening skill.  Good listening skill will help in assimilating useful information, and enhance their language acquisition.

-Jerome Burner – Concrete, pictorial and abstract approach (CPA)

The following article provides a clear summary of how CPA offers significant benefits in mathematical learning.

My queries:

  1. Beside story books, is there any other ways to support mathematics learning at home? (Parental involvement)
  2. How can we use technological tools to support struggle learners?
  3. As lots of parents are providing their children with ipad. So can technological tools be used before concrete learning experience?


Daily Reflection (19 July 2012)

Is rectangle a square?

Surprised to find out that a rectangle is a square!

Are we teaching the correct mathematical concepts in our kindergarten?

Are our kindergarten teachers equipped with adequate mathematical skill and knowledge?

I keep pondering over these questions and reflected on our current practices. Our teachers are providing too much guidance in helping children to achieve the end product and neglected the learning process.

The learning process is the most important part in mathematics lesson. It should be done in a way where children are actively engage in critical thinking and problem solving. Lots of concrete learning should be carried out instead of paper and pencil tasks. Such as providing them with objects to reinforce counting and progress gradually, challenging them to build new concepts form their prior knowledge. Always bear in mind that mathematics is not teaching standard formula, it is  a tool to sharpen children’s minds and swift their perspective!

Daily Reflection (17/7/2012)

Chapter 10 – Helping Students Master the Basic Facts

Games to Support Basic Fact Mastery

Provision of meaningful and purposeful games is important. As children engage in games, they are developing and refining their mathematics skills and understanding different concepts. The adults play a vital role as they have to provide support by:

  • Give children time to explore the games and activities at their own pace.
  • Focus on the learning process and not the finished product.
  • Select appropriate materials and increase the level of difficulty gradually. (concrete to abstract)
  • Avoid using distracting elements as it will confuse the children.
  • Promote integrated learning to develop children holistically.

Daily Reflection (16/7/2012)

Enriching hands-on activities to learn Mathematics in a fun way!

Fascinating magical cards that teach spelling of number name from one to ten and exploring numbers with our names.  It was amazed to know that there are so many ways to end at the correct answer. The most important part of the learning process is to be able to explain and share our discovery with our peers.


Differentiated Learning

Differentiated learning required teachers to:

-carefully select and provide opportunity and appropriate materials to support children’s learning.

-create multiple teaching methods/instructions so that children of different abilities have equal opportunity to learn.

-The problem presentation can be in any form. The adults have to initiate questions and give directions for children to investigate.

Pre-course Reading – Chapter 2

After reading this chapter, I have a better understanding on how mathematics offers opportunity for children to connect the blue dots. The best way to support the connection, according to the constructive and sociocultural theories is to provide opportunity for children to build new knowledge from their prior knowledge. I agree that the environment and adult are key factors that contribute to the connection.

As mentioned in page 14, “Classrooms where students are making sense of Mathematics do not happen by accident.” This statement has triggered me to re-evaluate my classroom setting and lesson plan. We are well aware of providing a holistic curriculum, however our centralize lesson plan focus more on literacy and the numeracy component is rather weak. Furthermore the role of the adult in providing opportunity, supporting and facilitating learning needed to be enhanced. The following five pointers will serve as very useful guide for me reflect on the current practices and initiate changes for the mathematics lesson.

  1. Persistence, effort, and concentration are important in learning mathematics
  2. Students share their ideas
  3. Students listen to each other
  4. Errors or strategies are opportunities for learning
  5. Students look for and discuss connections

To uphold the above, adults need to provide time and opportunity for children to engage in “productive struggle”.  Give children time to share their finding with peers. Restrain ourselves from providing the answer. Allow them to learn from their own mistake through open discussion. As the authors believe that when children know that struggle is expected as part of the process of doing math, they embrace the struggle and feel success when they reach a solution.

Pre-course Reading – Chapter 1

A handful of standards and resources are mentioned in this chapter to help teachers in creating a classroom that support Math learning. I believe that some of these standards take place in our daily classroom and we applied them without noticing. One good example was the lesson that I observed in the K2 classroom where the children were tasked to do a simple measurement activity. The five process standards were observed during their learning.

Problem Solve: Children developed measuring idea as they explored different ways of measuring their body parts. They used the string, strip of paper to measure their arms, legs and heads.

Reasoning and proof: The use of manipulative objects (ice-cream sticks) to discover measurement.

Communication: They moved on to compare the length and used mathematical language to describe their finding. Such as: My arm is shorter than hers / His leg is longer than mine / John’s leg is the longest.

Connection: Children discovered measurement through their experiment with the ice-cream sticks and teacher introduced the measuring tape to help them transfer their finding into metric (cm).

Representation: The photo showed how the children transferred their learning onto the chart and used them to express and communicate their mathematical ideas.


Intro – EDU 330 Elementary Mathematics

Approaching this module with mixed feeling!

Happy – as I have been dealing with ABC (literacy) for months………

It’s time to explore something different 1 2 3 (numeracy)!

But 1 2 3 is not my cup of tea !!!!!

Worries – I dislike numbers. Numbers remind me of how I struggled to solve my problem sums and how I scratched my head and in the end I still concluded my balance sheet with two different figures.

The first paragraph in chapter 1 deepened my worries and triggered me to reconsider “Mathematics” seriously, to make space for it and to squeeze it into my “knowledge bank”.

“In this changing world, those who understand and can do mathematics will have significantly enhanced opportunities and options for sharping their future…… A lack of mathematics competence keeps those doors closed…….”

So I look forward to pick up mathematical skills and knowledge so as to open more doors for my future!

EDU330 Elementary Mathematics